Separation of Church and State? Not So Much.

Welcome to the separation of church and state, Texas-style, which is not so much separation as codifying discrimination into law in a fucking church:
In a letter to [Texas Gov. Rick Perry] (PDF) sent today, [Americans United for Separation of Church and State] warned that the proposed event is a blatant example of exploiting a house of worship for partisan political purposes and could jeopardize the congregation's tax-exempt status.

Perry plans to sign the bills this Sunday at an event at Calvary Cathedral in Fort Worth. One bill will require minor girls to have written parental consent before they can get an abortion; another certifies a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that will be on the ballot in November.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a letter and e-mail from Perry's campaign said that Perry backers "want to completely fill this location with pro-family Christian friends who can celebrate with us" and said they might film the event for TV political advertising later.

"This is one of the most outrageous misuses of a house of worship for political gain that I've ever seen," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "It's of highly dubious legality and could put the church's tax-exemption in jeopardy."
I can’t really add much to the Reverend’s commentary. What I will note, however, is that the two bills being signed are not particularly Christian, in its traditional sense, which makes for some rather potent irony. Parental consent laws are instructive in revictimizing the most vulnerable of victims—those who have become pregnant through rape or incest by a family member or close friend of the family, making their ability to work through the situation with their parents all the more precarious. As I’ve noted before in a post outlining the value of choice for woman of all ages:
In a perfect world, teens wrestling with an unwanted pregnancy would be able to discuss the situation with their parents, who would have their child’s best interests (whatever decision that means) at heart. But, of course, we don’t live in a perfect world, and so we need to deal with the messiness that accompanies imperfection.
Parental notification laws don’t do very well in addressing that messiness at all. In the black and white world of the modern American conservative, however, such gray areas are ignored.

Similarly, the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is neither democratic nor Christian. The flag of the United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands, represent liberty and justice for all, not for a select group of people based on their sexual persuasion, to the exclusion of others with minority orientations. Separate and unequal doesn’t fly in America, folks. We’ve been through that before, as I recall.

As for the Christian standing of such an amendment, there are two problems with such a claim. First, denying equal rights to another citizen because one finds them “sinful” is not the basis of our law. End of story. Secondly, to the oft-asserted argument that legalizing gay marriage somehow undermines the sanctity of marriage, I’ve addressed this before, too:
[T]he realm of the sacred is not the province of government; [it] conveniently ignores the intrinsic conflict of a government-sponsored protection of the “sanctity” of marriage. Religious marriage ceremonies are sacred. Civil ceremonies are not (necessarily), yet they are still marriages in the eyes of the law. Such semantic tunnel vision also ignores the growing number of religious institutions who will perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples; I attended a mass same-sex wedding at a church in Chicago ten years ago. It’s nothing new; what is new is the debate about legally recognizing the union of the participants. Determinedly fixating on keeping the discussion focused on a debate about the sacred, rather than about equal rights, is becoming gradually more obvious as the thin excuse for supporting full equality that it is.
The argument that the sanctity of heterosexual unions is undermined somehow in the eyes of God is simply absurd, because it is, in essence, unanswerable, although anyone remotely versed in Christian theology would assure the concerned that there is nothing in the Christian canon to suggest that God has asserted his right to withdraw his blessing from a heterosexual marriage should two dudes get married in the same state.

So there we are. Two resoundingly hurtful, punative laws, rooted in little less than hatred and ignorance, being signed by the governor of Texas in a church, with the expectation to exploit the situation for future political gain. Quite a scenario. Well done, Texas.

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